Press Release
May 25, 2015

International Year of the Soil
Villar: "In the same way that we protect our oceans, we should also save our soils"

Sen. Cynthia Villar today urged active participation in the effort to save and protect our soils, not only because it sustains food production, but also as a host to a quarter of our planet's biodiversity.

The chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food was guest speaker during the campaign launch of the International Year of the Soil headed by the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) in Quezon City.

Villar noted that the declaration of 2015 as the International Year of the Soil done by the United Nations General Assembly, through the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), aims to raise awareness on the importance of soils for food security and essential eco-system functions.

"'Save our Soils' encourages all stakeholders to take an active role in soil conservation and management. At lahat tayo, no exemption, ay mga stakeholders sa usaping lupa dahil higit sa lahat, nakasalalay diyan ang food security ng ating bansa, because healthy soils are the foundation of food production," Villar said.

According to FAO, soil sustains 95 percent of food production, Villar added.

"Hindi lang sa food security, importante ang soil. Alam naman natin na interconnected ang lahat sa ating nature. There is a chain reaction kapag hindi na-maintain ang balance at sustainability. Soils host a quarter of our planet's biodiversity. In the same way that we protect our oceans, we should also save our soils," she said.

The Nacionalista Party senator said protection of the soil presents a win-win solution in an agricultural country such as the Philippines with more than two-thirds of the population involved in agriculture, majority of which are poor farmers. "Healthy soils will not only provide us abundant and nutritious food, but will also increase the farmers' crop yields. With abundant harvest, the economy of Philippines, as an agricultural country, will also grow abundantly," she said.

"Bukod pa diyan, interlinked din ang iba pang social problems at issues na masosolusyunan rin in our bid to save our soils because the sustainable use and management of soils is also linked to poverty reduction, hunger eradication, economic growth and environmental protection," she added.

Villar also raised an alarm on the threat to healthy soil, notably soil degradation that reaches 38% in the Philippines and 33% globally. She said erosion, acidification, chemical pollution, and others, should be immediately addressed in order to restore degraded land.

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